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Escudero: Prisoners have rights to vote

By Connie Calipay

Sorsogon Governor Francis Escudero recently urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ensure that persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) would be able to exercise their rights to vote in the May 2022 local and national elections.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Escudero said the rights of these PDLs should be upheld by the government.

“Persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who have not been convicted by a final judgment that includes the penalty of civil interdiction, have the legal right to vote,” the former senator said.

Escudero added that “The Comelec must devise a way to allow them as they number over 200,000 all over the country.”

A PDL, as defined by Republic Act 10575 or The Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, “refers to a detainee, inmate, or prisoner, or other persons under confinement or custody in any other manner.”

The term PDL was adopted by the government in solidarity with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which used the more neutral phrase to prevent labeling or shaming of people in prison.

The year 2010 marked two milestones in the history of the Philippine election – the automation of the election system nationwide and the first mass registration and voting of PDLs.

Escudero said the Comelec should again prepare for the upcoming elections to include provisions that the right to suffrage of the PDLs will be protected and upheld. (PNA)


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